- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Willamette Valley Vineyards, Pinot Gris, Oregon, 2005, $16

This lush but at the same time lively Oregon pinot gris won a gold medal two weeks ago at the annual Pacific Northwest Enological Society competition in Seattle. This judge thought it the best white he tasted during the entire event. At $16, it is a definite best buy.

When made in a dry style, pinot gris from Oregon is an ideal summer sipper. Medium-bodied, it displays rich pear and citrus fruit flavors but maintains plenty of acidity and tastes bright and vivacious.

Some wines do seem overly sweet, while others can be too tart, but when the vintner gets everything right, dry pinot gris can provide delightful warm-weather drinking. Fresh fruit, not heavy oak, is its signature calling card.

This particular pinot gris tastes especially lively. It displays superb balance, and its long, lingering finish proves especially exciting.

At the dinner after the competition, where all the wines that had been entered were available for tasting, I poured a glass to have with the Coho salmon I had ordered. Delicious.

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